What Matters. 74
(This article is a translation of the original Burmese language version that ISP-Myanmar posted on its Facebook page on December 29, 2021.)
More than 20 world-famous clothing companies, including multinational corporations such as H&M from Sweden, Inditex from Spain, and Primark from Britain, recently decided to suspend their operations in the garment industry in Myanmar. Since the military coup, the number of foreign-invested businesses leaving Myanmar has risen to 21. These include businesses in the infrastructure sector, which has the highest amount of foreign investment. In addition, the number of companies that used the onlinebusiness registration method has also continued to decline. Since the number of registered companies in August 2021 was only 360, the number decreased by 73 compared to registrations in July 2021. Compared to the time before the coup in January 2021, the number of company registrations declined by almost four times in August 2021.
∎ Why does it matter?
Foreign investment is an important economic pillar for developing countries, but not all kinds of foreign investment guarantee economic growth. If the investments are resource-exploitative, inconsiderate of the environment, inconsiderate of human rights, and do not improve the livelihoods of the local people, they could further deteriorate the development of the country and cause further impoverishment and vulnerability among Myanmar people. This has been the case throughout successive military regimes in Myanmar. The information concerning which countries are currently investing in Myanmar and what kind of investments are entering the market is key to understanding the involvement of other countries in the current political crisis. Moreover, foreign investments have a direct impact on the long-term sustainable development of the country and the livelihoods of Myanmar people, so it is crucial to monitor any foreign investment developments. Particularly in the current situation in which information ecosystems are being corrupted and destroyed, it is important to keep track of the figures on foreign investment to check whether the military regime is being transparent in their reporting of investments they have approved.
∎ Other relevant readings
Information and statistics concerning the status of foreign investment can be studied using the official website of the Directorate of Foreign Investment and Company Administration, in which investment information is compiled on a monthly and yearly basis. In addition, reports and statistics released by the World Bank, annual reports of the Asian Development Bank, and papers published by Oxford Economics and the Economist Intelligence Unit can also be consulted.